Your pet a treasured member of the family, providing a sense of purpose and unconditional love. So, when pet parents divorce determining what to do with the family pet can be an emotional experience. The following is an overview of how Florida law addresses pet ownership in a divorce.
Are pets property?
Under Florida law, pets are not seen the same as children. There are no “pet custody” laws. Instead, pets are deemed to be property and thus are subject to the laws of equitable distribution not unlike the television and the sofa. Under the laws of equitable distribution, a couple’s property will be divided in a divorce based on what is fair even if this does not lead to an exact 50/50 split.
Should pets custody be addressed in a divorce?
Understandably the idea of treating pets as property is very distressing to loving pet owners. One case in Florida directly addresses the issue of pets in a divorce. The court in this case clearly rejected the argument that the parties could develop a pet visitation schedule, arguing that to accept such would lead to ongoing enforcement issues. However, other states have taken the more progressive approach of treating pet ownership after a divorce like they would treat child custody issues and issue a “pet custody” order that is in the pet’s best interests.
Learn more about property division in Florida
Pet parents are free to construct their own pet custody arrangements following a divorce, but they should be aware that these arrangements may not be enforceable if violated. This post is for educational purposes only and does not contain legal advice. Our firm’s webpage on property division may be of interest to those who want to learn more about this topic.